The History of Valentine’s Day

More stories from Autumn Young

Graduation 2016
May 15, 2015
The History of Valentines Day

February 14, is the day that cards, flowers, candy, and stuffed animals are exchanged between loved ones.  People will spend 13.19 billion dollars on this holiday.  In 2010, it was estimated that over 198 million flowers are sent on Valentine’s Day.  Seventy-five percent of which are purchased by men, and fourteen percent of those women sent flowers to themselves.  There are several legends as to how this holiday began.

One legend says that in third century Rome, Emperor Claudius II believed that men without wives and families were better soldiers.  He soon created a law declaring that young men could not be married.  Saint Valentine knew this law was unfair and continued secretly marrying young couples.  Claudius found out about his secret business and had him imprisoned.  His jailor in prison had a blind daughter.  Since he was a saint, he was able to do miracles and restored this little girl’s eyesight.  Valentine was sentenced to death by Claudius for refusing to abide by the law and refusing to worship Roman gods.  Before he dies, he wrote a goodbye letter to the young girl and signed it with “From Your Valentine.”  He was put to death on February 14th.  This day became the day for lovers.  This legend has been passed on throughout generations and is the one most believed today.

However, Valentine’s Day was not celebrated until the fifth century when Pope Gelasius declared February 14, Valentine’s Day.  Valentine’s Day was still not associated with love until the Middle Ages.  In England and France, it became the common belief that Valentine’s Day was the beginning of mating season for birds.  This added to the belief that Valentine’s Day should be a day for romance.